Bridge to Excellence: Breakout Sessions

Learn more about this year's "The Science of Social Change: How To Fund It and How To Sell It" by reading the breakout session descriptions below. Click here to view the Schedule.


Block One

Be Transformational: Create Wholistic Social Impact

D.C. Dreger, ACFRE (D.C. Dreger Associates) & Christa Mannarino, CFRE (Mannarino Consulting)     

     Is your organization prepared to make a profound, lasting difference in your community? Explore the stepping stones of wide-scale societal change – alignment, advocacy, and alliances – to develop action steps that you can implement tomorrow. Participants will work alongside session facilitators to learn how organizations can think big, and then reflect internally to determine readiness. This approach helps create a more fundable organization, with higher visibility and transformational impact.

Click here to read a blog post about this session written by D.C. and Christa.


War Room Tactics: Real-life Board Fundraising

Jennifer Chalos, Center for Nonprofit Management fundraising expert
     Board fundraising can make a huge difference to your nonprofit, but it can also feel like an uphill battle. How can you motivate your board to "make the ask," or get involved in other development tactics? In this panel discussion moderated by fundraising expert Jennifer Chalos, hear real-life stories and strategies about how to engage your board in fundraising. Panelists will include board members and nonprofit leaders from organizations of various sizes and types – from education and health to social services and the arts – who will share their own experiences and successes.

That's the Fact, Jack!: Making Your Case & Why Donors Should Care

Bill Stanczykiewicz, Director of The Fund Raising School and senior lecturer in philanthropic studies for the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
     No other fundraising skills, techniques, or methods matter if you cannot make your case to prospective donors. The best gift range chart, donor pyramid, or constituency model is not able to transform a potential donor into someone who provides you with a charitable gift. Instead, you need to make your case and explain why the donor should care about your nonprofit. During this interactive workshop, respond to a series of questions that will lead you to writing a captivating case statement that will help prospective donors understand your cause, see your results, and consider making a charitable donation.
Bill will also be giving the opening keynote address at the conference, so we are fortunate to benefit from his expertise in this breakout session as well! Read more about Bill on this page.

Social Change Through Collective Impact: Introducing the Collective Impact Catalyst

Kristen Keely Dinger of The Healing Trust, Pete Bird of The Frist Foundation, Tari Hughes of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Erik Cole of the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment

     The partners of Collaboration College are developing a new community resource to support the practice of large-scale collaboration and collective impact to accelerate progress on our community's most complex challenges. In this session, you will learn about collective impact, inform the development of the Collective Impact Catalyst, and find out how collaboration and collective impact can attract partners and resources to help you achieve social change.
More information coming soon!

Block Two

Creative Engagement: Beyond Questionnaires & Surveys

Amy Campbell, Jessica Benton, & Hannah Wohltjen of Elevate Consulting

     Think surveys stink? Want to quit questionnaires? Funders often request that organizations collect data about their services, but it's often difficult to align your mission with standard data collection strategies. This session will discuss the when and why to use common data collection tools, and presenters will guide participants through live demonstrations of three innovative participatory strategies: PhotoVoice, Dotmocracy, and Poll Everywhere. Walk away with resources that will help you think through a data collection strategy that will most effectively help your organization make decisions, tell its story, and share its impact.

Click here to read the post "3 Ways to Make Data Collection Less Terrible" with the Elevate Consulting team.


Successful Stewardship: Moving Donors Up the Donor Ladder

Pam Brown & Taylor Cochran of Insight Counseling Centers
    Donors have likes and dislikes regarding how the organizations they support engage with them. Nonprofits don't always take the time to find out why donors leave. Pam Brown and Taylor Cochran will break down this information by presenting interview data from 50+ donors who are known for supporting multiple organizations. How can nonprofits harness the results of this donor feedback to move their supporters up the donor ladder? Participants will learn what local donors are saying and how to apply this information by crafting a Donor Retention Plan. Time will be allotted to create a donor retention plan outline during the session.

Brand Smart! Adapting to the Speed of Change

Shannon Litton, 5by5 Agency
     Whether you tweet, post, pin, print, or mail, great nonprofit communication starts with a strategic leadership and brand strategy. Learn how to create a culture of change through compelling stories that build connection to your mission and the community through proven communication models and successful practices.


Funder Learning Lab: A Conversation with Jim and Janet Ayers

Moderated by Agenia Clark, President and CEO of the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee and Perry Moulds, Vice President of Development and External Relations at Belmont University

More information coming soon!


Block Three

Agile Thinking: Jump-starting Your Ability to Craft Solutions

Carolyn German, Theater Craft Inc.
    Yesterday's answers can't solve today's issues. So when leadership asks for "new ideas," how can your team produce the best solutions possible? Creative, nimble thinking is required! In this highly-interactive session, participants will practice this different way of thinking, understand how to encourage it in others, and learn how to recognize static thinking and re-route it. Because in order to craft new solutions in an ever-changing world, nonprofit leaders need to embrace the innovation of agile thinking.

Click here to hear Carolyn explain how an "improv" mindset can encourage innovation.



Funding Your Programs with Data-Driven Storytelling

Josh Corlew, Adaptive Design Solutions
    If you dread evaluation, you are not alone. And yet, evaluation is necessary for most grant-funded program reporting. So how can practitioners use non-traditional evaluation techniques to tell your organization's story and entice others to invest in your work? Participants will learn the basics of some of these techniques and discuss why the evaluation mindset should be integrated into the design of your program. (The short answer? Funding!)



Transforming Your Technology and Data Management Strategy

TechBridge, nonprofit technology capacity-building organization
    You've just been asked to pull together a comprehensive report detailing your nonprofit organization's net impact in the community. But your nonprofit uses manual processes and multiple speadsheets for collecting and managing data.
     You're a development officer in charge of major gifts at your organization and one of your donors calls you up one day to say, "I've donated consistently to your homelessness program and every day I walk out of the office to a group of folks without shelter. What exactly has your program achieved this year?" Other than a compelling client story or two, you don't have much else to give him of your program's success.
     This session will take learnings from TechBridge's experience as a nonprofit technology capacity-building organization to help you learn how the appropriate technology solutions and good organizational data strategy can transform the performance of your nonprofit.

Pictures Matter: Using Visual Tools to Convey the Power of Statistics

Kim Carpenter Drake, Community Strategist at the Center for Nonprofit Management
    Numbers are not usually exciting. But, while the power of the nonprofit sector often rests in stories and testimonials of change, statistics have their own story to tell - when presented with clarity. Data is sometimes difficult to understand, but graphics are universal and a picture is worth 1,000 words. So how can you combine the power of data with graphics in a way that can be understood by all? Visuals such as dashboards and infographics translate information for efficient communication, and can help connect social scientists working in the field with those who can fund and sell their mission. Seeing is believing! Don't wander into "uncharted" territory without first joining us for this conversation and case study analysis. Session participants will leave with the knowledge of when and how to use visual tools to empower strategic decision-making.

For example, which of the following sets of information is easier to understand, and tells a clearer story? The list of numbers on the left, or the graph on the right?




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